Ready for a new load of fantasy releases this month? If you are someone who loves the top-genre-authors, look no further than the first book on this list. If you are looking to discover new writers, look past number 1 and feast your eyes on a bevy of interesting new fantasy releases. Other new releases of February 2017 can be found by genre right here on Goodreads.
- Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Publication date: February 7th 2017
Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, son of a giant, blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman, difficult with his beard and huge appetite, to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir, the most sagacious of gods, is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.
- Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly
Publication date: February 7th 2017
Welcome to Amberlough City, cosmopolitan beacon of Gedda. The radical One State Party—nicknamed the Ospies—is gaining popular support to unite Gedda’s four municipal governments under an ironclad vision. Not everyone agrees with the Ospies’ philosophy, including master spy Cyril DePaul and his lover Aristide Makricosta. When Cyril’s cover is blown on a mission, he must become a turncoat in exchange for his life. Returning to Amberlough, Cyril enters a complex game of deception. One of his concerns is safeguarding Aristide, who refuses to let anyone dictate his life. Enter streetwise Cordelia Lehane, top dancer at the Bee and Aristide’s runner, who could be the key to Cyril’s plans—if she can be trusted. As the twinkling lights of nightclub marquees yield to the rising flames of a fascist revolution, these three will struggle to survive using whatever means—and people—necessary. Including each other.
- Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey
Publication date: February 14th 2017
A lovely girl grows up in isolation where her father, a powerful magus, has spirited them to in order to keep them safe. We all know the tale of Prospero’s quest for revenge, but what of Miranda? Or Caliban, the so-called savage Prospero chained to his will? Jacqueline Carey shows readers the other side of the coin—the dutiful and tenderhearted Miranda, who loves her father but is terribly lonely. And Caliban, the strange and feral boy Prospero has bewitched to serve him. The two find solace and companionship in each other as Prospero weaves his magic and dreams of revenge. Always under Prospero’s jealous eye, Miranda and Caliban battle the dark, unknowable forces that bind them to the island even as the pangs of adolescence create a new awareness of each other and their doomed relationship. Miranda and Caliban is a gorgeous retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. With hypnotic prose and a wild imagination, Carey explores the themes of twisted love and unchecked power, while serving up a fresh take on the play’s iconic characters.
- Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis
Publication date: February 28th 2017
Ethan Makkai thought that seeing ghosts was the worst of his problems. Between his gift and life with a controlling single mother, he feels imprisoned. When he sees a chance to escape and leave the house by himself for the first time in his life, he seizes it, unaware that it will cost him everything. Ethan is thrown into a strange and eerie world, like nothing he’s ever seen. He’s assaulted by birds and rescued by a stranger who claims to be his bodyguard. His mother is kidnapped to a hidden continent called Tara. Travelling there in search of his mother, Ethan discovers that his mother is royalty, his father is not dead and his destiny is likely to get him killed. Confronted by a vicious sorcerer determined to destroy the Makkai family, Ethan must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother and all the people of Tara, including the beautiful girl he’s fallen for.
- Midnight Curse by Melissa F. Olson (Disrupted Magic #1)
Publication date: February 7th 2017
Scarlett Bernard is used to cleaning up messes. As a human who cancels out any magic around her, Scarlett’s job is to keep the supernatural world hidden—at any cost. On the eve of the Vampire Trials, a two-day tribunal that allows the otherworldly community to air their grievances, Scarlett receives a blood-soaked message from Molly, her estranged former roommate. Molly, a vampire, had been living with twelve human college students…and in one terrible night, she slaughtered them all. Scarlett believes Molly’s been set up, but no one else in the Old World agrees with her. And the true perpetrator is determined to make sure Molly goes on trial for the massacre—the penalty for which is death. With less than two days to prove her friend’s innocence, Scarlett calls on former LAPD detective Jesse Cruz to help her dig into Molly’s past. But no one—Molly included—wants Scarlett and Jesse to bring the terrible truth to light.
So, we’ve got Neil Gaiman writing a kind of reference work about Norse Mythology in general – which doesn’t really feel like fantasy to me. I’ve listened to a sample of the audio book and looked through some reviews and it appears to me like this is more of a reference work than a story based on Norse Mythology. They are retellings of Norse myths and not original stories, so this is not your typical fantasy book. Of course, it’s still Neil Gaiman and I do like reading myths. And ever since Marvel, I have rediscovered an interest in Norse mythology. So: must-read!
The second book feels like a typical spy novel (think cold war: Russia vs America) set in a fantasy setting with some LGBT elements thrown in – I guess to make things more interesting? To up the stakes? Meh, not my cup of tea!
I am intrigued by the third book though: I love reinterpretations of famous stories and I also love Shakespeare! In short: to read!
The fourth book on this list is kind of leaving me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it does sound interesting: a boy that can see ghosts who leaves the security and safety of his home to discover he is much more than he ever imagined and that he has a serious destiny waiting for him. But then, as I was reading the specifics, I was like “don’t I know where this is going?” It feels like a Mortal Instruments rip-off: sheltered kid rebels and leaves home, mother is kidnapped, so kid needs to travel to some previously unknown locations to save her. Finds out mother is important, father is not dead and they hold the destiny of a whole bunch of people in their hands. Instead of magic and runes, this one is about ghosts – and it’s with a male lead character. Hmm, no thanks, been there, done that!
And then there is some confusion with book 5 on this list. It’s being promoted as the first one in a new series, but with the same main character in a previous trilogy. The main character is a “mere” human in a supernatural world, struggling against everything and everyone to save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. I’m guessing a whole lot of unnecessary ass-kicking and look-at-how-awesome-and-emancipated-I-am-ness. Again: meh, not my flavour.
How about you guys? Agree with the way I judged these books by their (front and back) covers? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!